City College’s Former CFO Tiptoes into Chancellorship

By JohnTaylor Wildfeuer


Dr. David Martin may have once been better known by the City College community as its former CFO, but as he becomes its next permanent chancellor it has heard little from him.

The incoming chancellor’s contract was approved by the Board of Trustees on Sept. 23rd, and in the three weeks since he has not given an interview or issued a statement regarding his hiring, or his plans for the chancellorship.

Martin’s appointment was covered by several outlets including The Chronicle, Monterey County Now, 48Hills, Etc. Magazine and here at The Guardsman, but none of them appear to have been able to reach the outgoing Monterey Peninsula President for comment.

The Guardsman again has yet to receive a response to several requests for comment.

President’s Podcast

While requests for comment have gone unanswered, Dr. Martin’s voice can be heard in Monterey Peninsula’s eight episode President’s Podcast, which he started when he was still Interim President in 2019.

The final episode aired three days after the confirmation of his contract with City College on Sept. 26, but makes no mention of the President’s imminent departure. The episode covers the Tutoring and Academic Success Center (TASC) at Monterey Peninsula College, it’s work, and it’s new facility.

The series has a technical and administrative focus, covering topics from financial aid to Teacher Pathway Programs (TPP).

President Martin, in a rare personal aside, mentioned his mother, a kindergarten teacher of 35 years, as the impetus behind his passion for the podcast to cover the college’s TPP.

“I grew up at Trajan Elementary, Room 1, Mrs. Martin’s class,” Martin said in the March 2021 episode adding, “I grew up in the house of a kindergarten teacher, and I know the value and importance of the profession.”

Financial Focus

While Dr. Martin has said little lately on his plans and record, or on his upcoming transition, others have spoken positively on his behalf. 

When Martin was confirmed as Superintendent/President of MPC one year ago, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Monterey Peninsula Community College Yuri Anderson said, “David understands the power and importance of education to disrupt systemic oppression.”

In an October 2020 MPC announcement Martin is credited with being an “integral part of City College of San Francisco’s reaffirmation of accreditation for the full seven-year cycle.”

Since that time, Martin has added to that the guidance of Monterey Peninsula through its own accreditation crisis, which was said to have created a rift between faculty and administration, a position City College of San Francisco can relate to, having faced its own heated accreditation crisis in 2012. Over the ensuing five years, legal action in 2017 led to an overhaul of the accreditation entity Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

According to Dr. Martin’s résumé, he spent his two years as City College’s CFO working to reinstate City College to full accreditation. The document cites a 2016 ACCJC site visit, which, along with his participation in Board of Trustees closed-door meetings and co-authorship and presentation of the district’s new Accreditation Standard (specifically section III; B, C, & D), paint a picture of definite involvement.

Earlier in his role as President/Superintendent of MPC, Martin supported and praised the passage of Measure V, a $230 million facilities and technology bond initiative, of which he said, “Funds from this measure will finance critical campus facility and technology projects that will benefit tens of thousands of local students over the years.”

Martin currently holds positions on the ACCJC Fiscal Advisory and Standards Review Committees, along with 13 other “Executive Boards & Professional Activities,” which include several state and local community college organizations, the Monterey Peninsula College Foundation Board of Directors, and the Statewide Student Equity & Achievement (SEA) Program Oversight Board.

Illustration by Erin Blackwell/The Guardsman. @blackwelldrawingfool


From the Forum

Prior to his confirmation, Dr. Martin participated in the Chancellor Finalists Forums, making his most vocal appeal for the role to date to the City College community on Aug. 24.

In his opening statements he spoke of his experience providing “operational and consulting audits” in his prior role working with a regional certified public accounting firm, working “with some of the largest districts in the state, as well as some of the smallest districts of the state, and everything in between.”

He also briefly mentioned his wife Teresa’s work as a California community college contract counselor, adding, “we hold residence in the Bay Area and are very excited for this potential opportunity to relocate back.”

Dr. Martin responded to the initial question as to why he was running with a nod to his record as a fiscally responsible budget developer and vocalized his intentions to “have a collaborative, a transparent budget process.”

Martin’s lack of accessibility may be the result of his tying up loose ends at Monterey Peninsula College, of which he is still President/Superintendent until Nov. 1. In the forum he speaks often of transparency, but he may be waiting on that until his Chancellorship begins when he says “Starting on day one, it’s developing relationships, it’s building trust, it’s developing collaboration amongst participants and community groups and constituent groups.”

He took this a step further when he outlined his philosophy regarding a return to campus, calling for broad discussion and interchange, speaking of “creating an environment where … different individuals can come to the discussion, can have their voices heard, can provide information based on their lens, their experience, their perspective.”

Later, Martin cited his CFO experience at City College saying, “I was charged with going through the audit process and closing the books and eliminating all nine of the previous year audit findings.” He then credited the subsequently successful elimination of all nine audit findings to “a collection of wonderful work of the classified account staff working side by side.”

Martin closed out this last public appearance responding to a question about stabilizing enrollment, to which he responded “it is not enough just to print the schedule of classes; we have to, as an institution, commit to promoting the programs, promoting the courses, promoting the curriculum, promoting the opportunities, and most importantly, promoting the value of City College of San Francisco.”

Contract Delayed

While it remains unclear why Dr. Martin’s contract start date is a month later than anticipated, Interim Chancellor Gonzales will finish out October before handing over the role to her permanent successor.

Chancellor Martin will be the first to fill the role as a non-interim since the controversial Mark Rocha left early under a cloud of contention, taking with him a $340,000 retirement.

Martin’s starting salary, as stated in his contract, will be $315,000 per fiscal year, with room for merit-based increases at the discretion of the Board.” He is granted up to ten days per year of leave for Professional Development, with the expectation that after he will report to the Board.

The incoming chancellor will be paid a stipend of $60 per month to maintain a “device for District business,” and expected to be “reasonably available for communication on such device twenty-four hours per day.”

Current Interim Chancellor Dianna Gonzales was not released by the college’s Public Information Officer Rosie Zepeda to comment on her experience returning to the now extended role.

When announcing his confirmation as the permanent chancellor, City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees President Shanell Williams cited Martin’s “proven commitment to transparency, collaboration, and equity.”

Subsequently, when it was publicized in September that the President was leaving MPC, Trustee Anderson said, “While that pains us we wish David the best in his next step.”

One thought on “City College’s Former CFO Tiptoes into Chancellorship

  • Steven R Haigler, CPA

    I am appalled by the tone of this article. I hope that San Francisco City College welcomes Dr Martin back as he is a leader who can help the college through the difficulties it faces. I have personally witnessed his leadership abilities. I am quite sure, he is more qualified than you to accomplish what needs to be done to put the college back on course.

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